The term “stalking” conjures chilling scenarios from movies like Fatal Attraction and Enduring Love. Intrusion into one’s personal space can unfortunately be so much closer to home. The iCAN Foundation defines stalking as “repeated phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, vandalizing a person’s property, or appearing at a person’s home or place of employment.”
“Is it peeking or stalking” blog post provides the following real life scenario:
She said, “I’ve done it before so I know what it’s like. You just want to see if they’re home.” I stared at her for a second and asked, “But why? Whether they’re home or not, if you’re not going to knock on the door and see if they wanna go out for coffee or talk, then why drive all the way to their house?” She replied, “It’s just comforting to know where they are. It’s not like we’re gonna do any harm to you, it helps our hearts to think that maybe we might see you. Maybe we’ll bump into you or see you walking to your car.”
Stalkers suffering from erotomania (defined in DSM-IV, 4th ed) are infatuated with the target, and mistakenly believe (despite evidence to the contrary) that their obsession is reciprocal. “Efforts to contact the victim are common, but erotomanic stalkers may keep the delusion a secret.” If rebuffed they may become aggressive, instigating a smear campaign to discredit the victim through lies, spreading malicious gossip, and/or through outward displays of non-support. They can be your best friend (if you go along to get along) or your worst enemy, using the fact they are a loud voice in a well-connected network as leverage. Stalkers appear ubiquitous in that they “follow you and show up wherever you are.”
Below is how a hypothetical erotomanic stalker might hallucinate about his target:
First I start calling their home, you know, real paternal like in the beginning just to check on ‘em. Gradually I ramp up the activity until it’s every day, several times a day. I keep calling and hanging up until I can get someone to pick up the phone. One time when I found out one of my fillies was at a banquet, I called her cell phone six times in one hour. I can’t have my girls cavorting around and procreating with someone I don’t approve of. I follow it up with drive-bys. I’ve heard the mere act of just being around someone can make them feel hot and bothered.
So I go at it full force. At least a couple of times a week, there I am – I say it’s because I’m looking for a house in the neighborhood, you know, some half-story horsesh*t I know they’ll swallow. So I get to know their habits, where and when they go for walks, if they sit on their front porch. Then when I see ‘em real casual like I roll down my window and say something so I won’t look too obvious: “Well, fancy seeing you here; I was just on my way to the open house.” If she knows what’s good for her she takes the bait and rubs up against my good side. By the time I start my full court press I’m either driving ’em crazy or casting a spell.
Either way, it’s Big Daddy who’s front and center in their brainless heads. A live body in my mind (and anybody else’s) sure beats looking at porn.
Ways to recognize stalking at work